Replacing Salt While Cooking

When a patient gets diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease, a lot of questions about diet and fluid intake tend to come up. How much should I drink? What should I eat? What needs to be taken out or altered in my normal diet? These can be daunting and seem overwhelming. An easy switch can be to reduce the added salt, or sodium chloride, when cooking. Added salt can come from your table salt shaker or other seasoning mixes commonly found in your spice cabinets. Added sodium can also come in the form of preservatives in canned goods, frozen foods, and boxed meals or ingredients. For more information on sodium, you can review our Kidney Korner segment on sodium here.  

Common Seasonings with Added Salt

  • Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • Kinder’s Seasoning
  • Adobo All Purpose Seasoning
  • Sazon
  • Garlic/Onion/Celery Salt
  • Slap Ya Mama

Many “all purpose” or pre-mixed seasoning packets will contain added sodium. Be sure to check your labels and ingredients!

Seasonings as Salt Replacements

  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Fresh or Powdered Onion
  • Dried or Fresh Ginger
  • Fresh or Powdered Garlic
  • Fresh or dried herbs
    • Oregano
    • Parsley
    • Thyme
    • Rosemary
    • Cilantro/Coriander
    • Basil
    • Mint
    • Sage
    • Lemongrass
  • Paprika
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Star Anise
  • Allspice
  • Chinese 5 Spice
  • Mustard (seed, powder, paste, etc.)
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Cumin
  • Fresh celery or celery seeds
  • Chives
  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Citrus juice (lime, lemon, orange, etc.)

Be sure to check the labels of your spice bottles in all circumstances to ensure that it is truly free of sodium. When they have phrases like “No Salt Added,” “Salt Free,” and “Low Sodium,” it can mean that the salt has been replaced with potassium chloride, a different version of salt. This can be just as problematic as sodium chloride for patients with kidney diseases and hypertension.

You can learn more about how to cook and season your food with spices instead of salt from the National Kidney Foundation here.

If you have any questions or concerns about salt and sodium in your diet, you can contact your care team for additional assistance. As always, stay safe and healthy! 


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